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Publication numberUS8855654 B2
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 13/752,369
Publication date7 Oct 2014
Filing date28 Jan 2013
Priority date28 Jan 2013
Also published asUS20140213265
Publication number13752369, 752369, US 8855654 B2, US 8855654B2, US-B2-8855654, US8855654 B2, US8855654B2
InventorsDevesh Agarwal
Original AssigneeTekelec Global, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Methods, systems, and computer readable media for tracking and communicating long term evolution (LTE) handset communication capability
US 8855654 B2
Abstract
The subject matter described herein includes methods, systems and computer readable media for tracking and communicating LTE handset communication capability. One method includes maintaining, in a signaling message routing node, an LTE communication capability database. The database includes identifiers associated with LTE communication capable handsets. The method further includes, intercepting, at the signaling message routing node, a request for routing information. The method further includes, determining, by the signaling message routing node using the LTE communication capability database, whether a B party number associated with the request for routing information is associated with an LTE communication capable handset. In response to determining that the B party number is associated with an LTE communication capable handset, the method includes, responding, by the routing node, to the request for routing information with an identifier for a node in an LTE network for providing LTE service to the LTE capable handset.
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Claims(27)
What is claimed is:
1. A method for tracking and communicating long term evolution (LTE) handset communication capability, the method comprising:
maintaining, in a signaling message routing node, an LTE communication capability database that stores information indicating LTE communication capable handsets;
intercepting, by the routing node, a request for routing information for a subscriber;
determining, by the routing node, using the LTE communication capability database, whether a B party number in the request for routing information indicates an LTE communication capable handset; and
in response to determining that the B party number indicates an LTE communication capable handset, responding, by the routing node, to the request for routing information with an identifier for a node of an LTE network for providing LTE service to the handset.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein the LTE communication capability database is provisioned by a dedicated network operator provisioning system to indicate handsets of the operator's network that are LTE communication capable.
3. The method of claim 1 wherein the LTE communication capability database stores LTE registration status for handsets.
4. The method of claim 3 wherein the LTE communication capability database is provisioned by a home location register (HLR) or a home subscriber server (HSS).
5. The method of claim 3 wherein the LTE communication capability database is dynamically provisioned by the routing node based on received registration messages.
6. The method of claim 1 wherein the LTE communication capability database includes records of subscriber identifiers and indicators of LTE communication capability.
7. The method of claim 1 wherein the LTE communication capability database contains subscriber identifiers for LTE communication capable handsets.
8. The method of claim 1 wherein intercepting the request for routing information includes intercepting a request that is addressed to a home location register (HLR) or a home subscriber server (HSS).
9. The method of claim 8 wherein responding to the request for routing information includes responding on behalf of the HLR.
10. The method of claim 1 wherein the identifier for the node capable of providing LTE services to the handset comprises an identifier for an LTE/IMS voice switch.
11. The method of claim 1 wherein the routing node comprises a signal transfer point (STP).
12. The method of claim 1 wherein the routing node comprises a session initiation protocol (SIP) signaling router.
13. The method of claim 1 wherein the routing node comprises a Diameter signaling router.
14. A system for tracking and communicating long term evolution (LTE) communication capability, the system comprising:
a signaling message routing node including:
an LTE communication capability database for storing identifiers for LTE communication capable handsets; and
a database module for receiving a request for routing information for a subscriber, for determining whether a B party number in the request for routing information indicates an LTE capable handset, and, in response to determining that the B party number indicates an LTE capable handset, responding to the request for routing information with an identifier for a node in an LTE network for providing LTE services to the handset.
15. The system of claim 14 wherein the LTE communication capability database is provisioned by a dedicated network operator provisioning system to indicate handsets of the operator's network that are LTE communication capable.
16. The system of claim 14 wherein the LTE communication capability database stores LTE registration status for handsets.
17. The system of claim 16 wherein the LTE communication capability database is provisioned by a home location register (HLR) or a home subscriber server (HSS).
18. The system of claim 16 wherein the LTE communication capability database is dynamically provisioned by the signaling message routing node based on received registration messages.
19. The system of claim 16 wherein the LTE communication capability database includes records of subscriber identifiers and indicators of LTE communication capability.
20. The system of claim 16 wherein the LTE communication capability database contains subscriber identifiers for LTE communication capable handsets.
21. The system of claim 14 wherein intercepting the request for routing information includes intercepting a request that is addressed to a home location register (HLR) or a home subscriber server (HSS).
22. The system of claim 21 wherein responding to the request for routing information includes responding on behalf of the HLR.
23. The system of claim 14 wherein the identifier for the node capable of providing LTE services to the handset comprises an identifier for an LTE/IMS voice switch.
24. The system of claim 14 wherein the routing node comprises a signal transfer point (STP).
25. The system of claim 14 wherein the routing node comprises a session initiation protocol (SIP) signaling router.
26. The system of claim 14 wherein the routing node comprises a Diameter signaling router.
27. A non-transitory computer readable medium having stored thereon computer executable instructions that when executed by the processor of a computer control the computer to perform steps comprising:
maintaining, in a signaling message routing node, a long term evolution (LTE) communication capability database that stores information indicating LTE communication capable handsets;
intercepting, by the routing node, a request for routing information for a subscriber;
determining, by the routing node, using the LTE communication capability database, whether a B party number in the request for routing information indicates an LTE communication capable handset; and
in response to determining that the B party number indicates an LTE communication capable handset, responding, by the routing node, to the request for routing information with an identifier for a node of an LTE network for providing LTE service to the handset.
Description
TECHNICAL FIELD

The subject matter described herein relates to providing services to mobile handsets with LTE communication capability. More particularly, the subject matter described herein relates to methods, systems and computer readable media for tracking and communicating LTE handset communication capability.

BACKGROUND

LTE or long term evolution is a family of mobile communications network protocols characterized by higher data rates and improved quality of service to mobile handsets. Mobile network operators are currently in the process of deploying LTE equipment in their networks. However, not all subscribers in a mobile network operator's network have LTE-capable handsets. For example, some subscribers may have non-LTE handsets and other subscribers may have handsets capable of both LTE and non-LTE communications. Other subscribers may have LTE-only handsets.

Mobile network operators know which of their subscribers have LTE capable handsets and in which network type a mobile handset is currently registered. It is desirable to route communications to LTE capable handsets via the LTE network to provide the best possible service to a mobile network operator's subscribers.

Accordingly, there exists a need for methods, systems, and computer readable media for tracking and communicating LTE handset communication capability.

SUMMARY

The subject matter described herein includes methods, systems and computer readable media for tracking and communicating LTE handset communication capability. One method includes maintaining, in a signaling message routing node, an LTE communication capability database. The database includes identifiers associated with LTE communication capable handsets. The method further includes, intercepting, at the signaling message routing node, a request for routing information. The method further includes, determining, by the signaling message routing node using the LTE communication capability database, whether a B party number associated with the request for routing information is associated with an LTE communication capable handset. In response to determining that the B party number is associated with an LTE communication capable handset, the method includes, responding, by the routing node, to the request for routing information with an identifier for a node in an LTE network for providing LTE service to the LTE capable handset.

The subject matter described herein can be implemented in software in combination with hardware and/or firmware. For example, the subject matter described herein can be implemented in software executed by a processor. In one exemplary implementation, the subject matter described herein can be implemented using a non-transitory computer readable medium having stored thereon computer executable instructions that when executed by the processor of a computer control the computer to perform steps. Exemplary computer readable media suitable for implementing the subject matter described herein include non-transitory computer-readable media, such as disk memory devices, chip memory devices, programmable logic devices, and application specific integrated circuits. In addition, a computer readable medium that implements the subject matter described herein may be located on a single device or computing platform or may be distributed across multiple devices or computing platforms.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Preferred embodiments of the subject matter described herein will now be explained with reference to the accompanying drawings of which:

FIG. 1 is a network diagram illustrating an exemplary system for tracking and communicating LTE handset communication capability according to an embodiment of the subject matter described herein;

FIG. 2 is a network diagram illustrating one method for provisioning an LTE communication capability database at a signaling message routing node according to an embodiment of the subject matter described herein;

FIG. 3 is a network diagram illustrating another method for provisioning an LTE communication capability database maintained by a signaling message routing node according to an embodiment of the subject matter described herein;

FIG. 4 is a network diagram illustrating an exemplary method for tracking LTE registration status at a signaling message routing node according to an embodiment of the subject matter described herein;

FIG. 5 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary internal architecture for a signaling message routing node that maintains an LTE communication capability database according to an embodiment of the subject matter described herein;

FIG. 6 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary internal architecture for a signaling message routing node for tracking LTE registration status according to an embodiment of the subject matter described herein;

FIG. 7 is a flow chart illustrating exemplary steps for tracking and communicating LTE communication capability according to an embodiment of the subject matter described herein; and

FIG. 8 is a flow chart illustrating an exemplary process for dynamically updating LTE registration information in an LTE communication capability database maintained by a signaling message routing node according to an embodiment of the subject matter described herein.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The subject matter described herein includes methods, systems, and computer readable media for tracking and communicating LTE handset communication capability. According to one aspect of the subject matter described herein, a signaling message routing node, such as a signal transfer point, maintains an LTE communication capability database that stores identifiers for LTE communications capable handsets. FIG. 1 is a network diagram illustrating a signaling message routing node that includes an LTE communication capability database according to an embodiment of the subject matter described herein. Referring to FIG. 1, routing node 100 includes LTE communication capability database 102. Routing node 100 may be a signal transfer point (STP), a SIP routing node, a Diameter routing node or any combination thereof for routing SS7, SIP, Diameter, and other types of signaling messages between network nodes. LTE communication capability database 102 may contain or be indexed by mobile subscriber identifiers, such as mobile subscriber integrated services digital network (MSISDN) numbers or international mobile station identifiers (IMSIs) and may indicate whether or not a handset is LTE communication capable. In one example, database 102 may contain only mobile subscriber identifiers for LTE communication capable handsets, and thus the presence of a mobile subscriber identifier in the database may indicate LTE communication capability. In another example, database 102 may contain or be indexed by mobile subscriber identifiers and may further contain indicators separate from the mobile subscriber identifiers that indicate whether or not handsets are LTE communications capable.

In the example illustrated in FIG. 1, routing node 100 routes messages between mobile switching center 104, gateway mobile switching center 106 and HLR 108. In one deployment scenario, routing node 100 may be located in the 3G network and may route registration and other types of messages to and from HLR 108. Signaling message routing node 100 may also intercept requests for routing information and access database 102 to determine whether the B party number (i.e., the called party number or destination party number) in a routing request message corresponds to an LTE capable handset. In response to determining that the B party number corresponds to an LTE capable handset, routing node 100 may respond on behalf of HLR 108. The response may include routing information for a node in the LTE network, such as LTE/IMS voice switch 110, that is configured to provide LTE service to the mobile device. LTE/IMS voice switch 110 may be an IMS CSCF, a softswitch, or other IMS voice switch.

Referring to the message flow illustrated in FIG. 1, in step 1, MSC 104 sends a send routing information (SRI) message to HLR 108. The SRI message may be generated in response to an attempt to route a call to the B party number identified in the SRI message. Upon receiving the SRI message, rather than simply routing the message, routing node 100 examines the B party number in the SRI message and determines whether LTE communication capability database 102 indicates that the B party number corresponds to an LTE capable handset. In response to determining that the B party number corresponds to an LTE capable handset, in step 2, signaling message routing node 100 sends an SRI_Ack message that contains an identifier for a node that is capable of providing LTE service to the LTE-capable handset. In the illustrated example, that node is LTE/IMS voice switch 110. In step 3, MSC 104 routes the call to LTE/IMS voice switch 110 by sending an ISUP IAM message or a SIP invite message to LTE/IMS voice switch 110. In one implementation, LTE/IMS voice switch 110 may simultaneously page the handset in both the 3G and the LTE networks. If the handset is currently registered in the 3G network, the call will be routed to the 3G network. However, if the handset is registered in the LTE network, the call will be routed to the handset via the LTE network.

FIG. 2 is a network diagram illustrating one method for provisioning LTE communication capability database 102. In FIG. 2, a mobile network operator provisioning system 200 provisions database 102 with LTE communication capability data. The data may be updated by provisioning system 200 as new LTE communication capable handsets are issued to subscribers. Provisioning system 200 may also update database 102 as subscriber handsets are removed or replaced.

Referring to the message flow illustrated in FIG. 2, in step 1, provisioning system 200 populates database 102 with LTE communication capability data. As stated above, the LTE communication capability data may include a list of mobile subscriber identifiers for handsets that have LTE communication capabilities. Database 102 may be provisioned via any suitable interface, such as a structured query language (SQL) interface or other database interface. In step 2, routing node 100 receives a SRI message from MSC 104. In step 3, routing node 100 accesses database 102 and responds to the SRI message with routing information for LTE/IMS voice switch 110. In step 4, MSC 104 routes the call to LTE/IMS voice switch 110.

FIG. 3 is a network diagram illustrating an alternate method for provisioning LTE communications database 102. Rather than provisioning the database using a dedicated mobile network operator provisioning system as illustrated in FIG. 2, in FIG. 3, HLR 108 provisions database 102. HLR 108 may store up to date information regarding handset capabilities and current registration status. Accordingly, HLR 108 may be well suited to provision database 102. However, rather than having all queries be processed by HLR 108, placing the LTE communication capability database 102 on routing node 100 may reduce some of the processing burden on HLR 108.

Referring to the message flow illustrated in FIG. 3, in step 1, HLR 108 provisions LTE communication capability data and/or current registration information to LTE communication capability database 102. In an alternate embodiment, LTE communication database 102 may be provisioned by a home subscriber server (HSS). Thus, step 1 would be replaced by the LTE handset capability and registration data coming from an HSS, rather than an HLR. In step 2, MSC 104 sends an SRI message to HLR 108 to determine routing information for a subscriber. In step 3, routing node 100 intercepts the SRI message, determines that the handset is LTE-capable and responds to the SRI message with an SRI_Ack message that contains the address of a node in the LTE network capable of providing LTE service to the handset. In step 4, MSC 104 routes the call to LTE/IMS voice switch 110.

FIG. 4 is a network diagram illustrating a method for provisioning current LTE registration information in LTE communication capability database 102. In FIG. 4, database 102 is dynamically provisioned based on location update or other registration messages received by routing node 100. Referring to the message flow illustrated in FIG. 4, is step 1, MSC 104 sends a location update message to HLR 108 to update a mobile subscriber's location. The location update message may be sent when the subscriber activates his or her phone in a particular area or when the subscriber moves from one area to another area. In step 2, routing node 100 extracts information from the location update message, stores LTE registration and/or capability data in database 102, and routes the location update message to HLR 108. In step 3, HLR 108 sends a location update acknowledgement message to routing node 100, which routes the message to MSC 104 in step 4. In step 5, MSC 104 sends an SRI message to HLR 108 in response to receiving a call directed to a subscriber of the operator's network. Routing node 100 accesses database 102 and determines that the handset corresponding to the B party number in the SRI message is LTE-capable. Accordingly, in step 6, routing node 100 sends an SRI_Ack message to MSC 104. MSC 104 routes the call to LTE LTE/IMS voice switch 110 in step 7.

In addition to provisioning LTE communication database 102 based on 3G location update messages, routing node 100 may provision database 102 based on Diameter update location request (ULR) messages. Referring to the message flow illustrated in FIG. 4, is step 1A, mobility management entity (MME) 400 sends an ULR message to home subscriber server (HSS) 402 to update a mobile subscriber's location. The ULR may be sent when the subscriber activates his or her phone in a particular area or when the subscriber moves from one area to another area. In step 2A, routing node 100 extracts information from the ULR message, stores LTE registration and/or capability data in database 102, and routes the location update message to HSS 402. In step 3A, HSS 402 sends an update location acknowledge (ULA) message to routing node 100, which routes the ULA message to MME 400 in step 4A. FIG. 5 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary internal architecture and message flow for tracking and communicating LTE communication capability using a database within routing node 100. Referring to FIG. 5, routing node 100 includes multi-protocol interface modules 500 and database modules 502. Multi-protocol interface modules 500 each contain network protocol stacks 504 to communicate with external nodes via a variety of different communications protocols. Exemplary communications protocols that may be implemented by network protocol stacks 504 include SS7 over TDM, SS7 over IP, SS7 over ATM, SIP over IP, SIP over ATM, Diameter over IP, Diameter over ATM, etc. By including IP, ATM, and traditional TDM hardware on the same interface card, multi-protocol interface module 500 can be tailored to a variety of different communications protocols without hardware upgrades.

Database modules 502 each host one or more database applications. In the illustrated example, the database applications include LTE communication capability database applications 102. Each module 500 and 502 also includes a message routing module 506 that routes received messages. Each message routing module 506 may route messages based on SS7 information, IP information, SIP information, Diameter information, or any combination thereof.

Referring to the message flow illustrated in FIG. 5, in step 1, routing node 100 receives an SRI message at multi-protocol interface module 500. Multi-protocol interface module 500 identifies the message as an SRI message and therefore requiring further processing by routing node 100. Accordingly, interface module 500 sends the SRI message to one of database modules 502. One of database modules 502 receives the SRI message, accesses database 102 and determines that the B party number in the SRI message corresponds to a handset that is LTE-capable. Accordingly, in step 3, database module 502 formulates an SRI_Ack message and routes the SRI_Ack message to multi-protocol interface module 500 associated with the originator of the SRI message. In step 4, multi-protocol interface module 500 forwards the SRI_Ack message to the SRI message originator, which in this case is MSC 104.

FIG. 6 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary internal architecture for routing node 100 where databases 102 are dynamically provisioned based on received registration messages and where the routing node 100 uses this information to respond to requests for routing information for LTE-capable handsets. Referring to the message flow illustrated in FIG. 6, in step 1, multi-protocol interface module 500 receives a location update message. The message could also be a ULR message from MME 400. In step 2, routing node 100 routes the location update message to one of database modules 502, which updates its respective database 102 based on the registration information in the location update message. The receiving database module 502 may periodically synchronize its database 102 with databases 102 hosted by other database modules 502. In step 3, the database module 502 that receives the location update message routes the location update message to the multi-protocol interface module 500 associated with the destination for the location update message. In step 4, the egress multi-protocol interface module 500 forwards the location update message to its destination, which is HLR 108. If the received message is an ULR message, multi-protocol interface module 500 may forward the message to HSS 400.

In step 5, a multi-protocol interface module 500 receives an SRI message. In step 6, the multi-protocol interface module 500 forwards the SRI message to a database module 502. The receiving database module 502 accesses database 102 to determine whether the B party number and SRI message corresponds to a handset that is LTE-capable. In step 7, the receiving database module formulates an SRI_Ack message indicating an identifier for an LTE-capable node capable for providing LTE service to the B party identified in the SRI message. In step 8, the egress multi-protocol interface module 500 forwards the SRI_Ack message to the originator of the SRI message.

FIG. 7 is a flow chart illustrating an exemplary process for communicating and tracking LTE communications capabilities according to an embodiment of the subject matter described herein. Referring to FIG. 7, in step 700, an LTE communication capability database is maintained in a routing node. For example, routing node 100 may maintain LTE communication capability database 102. Database 102 may be statically provisioned or dynamically provisioned. Provisioning may occur using a dedicated provisioning system, using an existing element, such as an HLR, using dynamic provisioning based on received registration messages, or any combination thereof.

In step 702, the routing node intercepts a request for routing information. For example, routing node 100 may intercept an SRI message or other request for routing information concerning mobile subscribers. In step 704, the routing node determines, using the LTE communication capability database, whether the B party number in the request for routing information indicates an LTE-capable handset. For example, routing node 100 may perform a lookup in LTE communication capability database 102 using the B party number to determine whether the B party number corresponds to an LTE-capable handset. In step 706, if an LTE-capable handset is indicated, control proceeds to step 708 where the routing node responds to the request for routing information with routing information for a node capable of providing LTE service. If an LTE-capable handset is not indicated, control proceeds to step 710 where the request for routing information is routed to the HLR. For example, routing node 100 may route the SRI message to HLR 108.

FIG. 8 is a flow chart illustrating an exemplary process for dynamically updating LTE registration information in an LTE communication capability database maintained by a signaling message routing node according to an embodiment of the subject matter described herein. Referring to FIG. 8, in step 800, the routing node maintains an LTE communication capability database. For example, routing node 100 may include a database that stores information for LTE communication capable handsets. In step 802, the routing node intercepts a registration message. For example, routing node 100 may intercept a location update, a ULR, or other registration message that updates the registration status of a handset. In step 804, the routing node determines whether the message contains LTE communication capability and/or LTE registration information. For example, routing node 100 may determine whether the registration message contains an identifier for an LTE-capable handset and/or information as to whether the handset is currently registered in an LTE network. In step 806, if the registration message contains LTE communication capability and/or LTE registration information, control proceeds to step 808 where routing node 100 updates database 102 with the LTE registration and/or communication capability information for the LTE communication capable handset. Control then proceeds to step 810 where the message is routed to the HLR or HSS. Returning to step 806, if the message does not contain LTE communication capability and/or LTE registration information, control proceeds to step 812, where the registration message is routed to the HLR or HSS.

It will be understood that various details of the presently disclosed subject matter may be changed without departing from the scope of the presently disclosed subject matter. Furthermore, the foregoing description is for the purpose of illustration only, and not for the purpose of limitation.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US902101425 Mar 201028 Apr 2015Tekelec, Inc.Methods, systems, and computer readable media for providing home subscriber server (HSS) proxy
US910079613 Dec 20124 Aug 2015Tekelec, Inc.Methods, systems, and computer readable media for seamless roaming between diameter and non-diameter networks
Classifications
U.S. Classification455/445, 455/435.1, 455/433
International ClassificationH04W40/00, H04W40/02
Cooperative ClassificationH04W40/02, H04L45/306, H04W40/24
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
12 Mar 2013ASAssignment
Owner name: TEKELEC GLOBAL, INC., NORTH CAROLINA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:AGARWAL, DEVESH;REEL/FRAME:029970/0502
Effective date: 20130301